Being mindful when it counts

Exam period has started. Everyone is stressed, trying to get as much material possible into their tired mind.

Where does mindfulness come into this wonderful period of time?
Well, exactly when you need it.

You open your practice exams/books/whatever it may be, and you start to get stressed, the clock seems to tick incessantly, telling you you’re running out of time. So what is the logical thing to do? Try and learn faster, try to do things faster, which results in more and more stress, and counter intuitively in less work done.

There comes mindfulness to the rescue.
Although it might seem counter intuitive, pause for a brief moment. Take a deep breath and return to your work. This time, trying NOT to rush it.
It might seem weird, but time will actually seem to be slowing down, and after a while, you will notice that you got a lot of things done, in quite a short amount of time, with no stress at all.

So, it’s weird.. but it works.
It’s tough to stop even for a moment, but try this:
Stop. Take a deep breath, and focus about doing things in a relaxed focused manner – no rushing!

Have a great week!

No complaining allowed

Two days ago, I found myself rather upset. Even downright angry.
I consider myself a very calm individual, I worked hard to develop this tranquil attitude, though it’s a work in progress.

However, as one thing led to another, I found myself pissed beyond recognition.
Now the funny thing is, nothing objectively changed in my life, I mean.. okay, maybe a little bit. But these events in themselves were rather insignificant. Yet the moment I started complaining – to myself to my girlfriend, to anyone in particular, I found myself getting into a vicious cycle. As I complained, I felt my mood getting worse and worse, eventually barely able to control myself – which is, again, not something so common nowadays.

And then another rather surprising thing happened, as I went outside – as a part of the errand that started this whole vicious cycle, I found myself interacting with people – Merely a “Hello” and “Have a great weekend”, and suddenly I found myself in a much better mood.
Thing is, I always considered myself to be an introvert. And suddenly I realize that I might actually be an extrovert, while all this introversion was actually a cycle I put myself in – spending time alone – mood gets worse – spending more time alone. Instead of stepping out of this vicious cycle and going out and about!

So, out of a pretty “bad” day, I’ve reached a few pretty important conclusions:

1. I’m probably an extrovert – meeting people and interacting actually makes me feel better – which is quite a surprise.

2. Get my priorities straight. If you’re a kind person, people will use you for various errands, and constantly require your attention and help. Including people who care about you, like your family. It’s not that they’re necessarily mean, it’s just human nature – if you let it, people will subconsciously use you for their advantage, more often than not – in your disadvantage.
When you get your priorities straight, you can start saying “NO”, when you’ve got other important things to do. If you don’t know what you have to do today, in order to make a difference and be productive, you’re in trouble.

3. Make it clear – if it’s not a matter of life and death (and 99.99999% of the time it isn’t) – if you don’t tell me what you need in advance, you’re going to get a “No” on your request. My time is important, I will not let other people’s mistakes turn into my mistakes.

4. No complaining. I’ve thought about it before, but that day made it very clear to me. Complaining is a slippery slope. Once you start this vicious cycle, it’s downhill from there.
Instead, adopt a more productive, positive mentality.
Okay, that happened. Now, what can I do to make my day happier and more productive?
Instead of wasting time on complaining, do something about it!

That’s it for today, hope you find this post helpful!

Destiny

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine, revolving a variety of subjects, as always, however, this time we brought up the subject of destiny.

Not in the metaphysical sense, but rather plain and simple – our choices in life and their outcomes.

For example, I applied to med school last year, I failed the exam – maybe on purpose, realized med school is not for me and went on with my life.
Had I passed those exams, I probably would have gone through with being a doctor, moving into an old-new city far from my friends at home, and embarking on a journey, so different from the one I’m living right now.

For that matter, I did fail those exams, I decided to study Computer science, psychology and brain science – It’s not that bad, but it was pretty bad.
Ending up feeling totally shocked with how difficult it all was – definitely wasn’t ready at the time. Changing my major from CS to economics – keeping psychology, and then deciding to change again, after finishing the semester, to go back to CS (and keep psychology as my second major).

It feels like crap having “missed” a year. Also, thinking back, I’ve “wasted” a whole lot of time going into a personal fitness course, working as a waiter, going on a post-army trip, which wasn’t what I expected at all. Instead of going on a trip with my friends (vs alone), working in a lucrative job, starting CS and psychology (without brain science) and sticking with it, and so on.

There are so many crossroads in life. Some of them are very apparent – “This job interview is super important”, some of them are less apparent – sending that text to your future girlfriend or wife, although having sent dozens of texts over the years with no reply and thus, no consequences whatsoever.

So, what do we do? How do we know what to choose?
Truth is, we don’t.
It’s rather intriguing to ponder all those lovely thoughts, however, as many thoughts do, they lead to nowhere. No one can ever know what path leads where, if he chose the “right” path, or is there a right path at all.

We can only do our best to learn from our mistakes, and live our life to the fullest, trying to miss as few golden opportunities as we can.

But then again, we never know which ones are golden.
So, we just have to do our very best, and that’ll probably do 🙂

The road ahead

So, it’s pretty late at night, and what better time is there to indulge in some free-style writing!

It’s been an interesting week, mainly filled with learning and quite a bit of reading. I’ve read some of the 4 hour work week, by Tim Ferriss, and well, it does contain a lot of things which I find doubtful, however, it had some pretty good advice about managing time and productivity.

You see, as a personal development advocate, I find myself trying to be as productive as possible, at all times. Which naturally makes me indulge in seemingly important things I have to do, mainly scanning my to-do list over and over, and maybe even completing a few meaningless things. However, it so seems, that the 80-20 law works here as well.
Meaning that all that fluff activities amount to little or nothing, while concentrating on one big thing – studying math for example, could lead to so much more improvement and concrete change!

So, if you find yourself trying to be productive, focus on 1-2 things that you KNOW will give you progress. Don’t delay those things, don’t indulge in meaningless to-do’s to make yourself feel productive, BE productive, and do all those things you keep delaying.

There you have it, some pretty decent productivity advice.

Going back to writing

What can I say, it’s been a long time since I wrote here, a lot has happened in my life, but it seems writing has become a priority once more.

However, this time I’m gonna write it free style.

Since almost no one is reading this, I might as well right?

So I might sometimes write quite free style, and other times rather elaborately, contemplating the nature of things.

So.. let’s get on shall we?

It’s been quite a baffling time in my life, going through the trip to the US, coming back, getting my personal training certificate – gym wise, not mental coaching. Embarking on an academic path – starting a degree in Computer science, brain science and psychology, feeling it’s way too tough, moving on to psychology-economy, leaving economy and staying with psychology, only to go back to computer science next year.
With psychology, minus brain science.

That’s all fun (or not), obviously there have been a lot of other things happening in my life – meeting my girlfriend, working at a gym and hating it (not much of a chance to help people, just sitting around doing nothing).

So I came back to good ol’ writing, thinking about personal development once more.
What then, will I find fulfilling? Studying psychology in the meanwhile is quite decent, however it doesn’t seem to satisfy that urge for something more, to feel like I’m “doing something with my life”.

So I came back to writing, assigned myself a project to read 10 books till the next academic year starts – in October, and cook 28 recipes – about 1 recipe per week.
What else?

Time will tell. But I do have to state that if there’s something I’ve learned so far, is that we, as humans, need something to do. We need to be busy. Preferably of course not busy doing things we absolutely hate, but rather things that are at least somewhat meaningful. Idleness is shit, unless you’re one of those people who can tolerate or even enjoy it, if so I applaud you, you won life.

However, since I’m not one of these people, let me assure you, I will find something interesting and fulfilling to do, and I might just keep you (the blank abyss of the internet) updated.

The simple truth about happiness

You see, so often we find ourselves engulfed by thoughts of our prospective bright future, thinking it will all be better soon enough.

There are numerous aphorisms being said daily by many societies, which constitutes this common belief – everything is going to be alright, things will get better.

Now, after thinking this through, and reaching a few (but far from all) of the things I’ve been yearning for, I realized that simply isn’t the truth.

Here’s a truth – life goes on. This too shall pass. Those are correct aphorisms.
Why? because they constitute a simple truth – life goes on. Good things and bad things won’t hold on forever – quite frankly, they usually don’t make you very happy or sad for long.

Which is sort of good-bad news, or maybe neutral news. Because that means that all the bad things and all the good things that will happen to you in life, won’t mean all that much.

It begs the question – is it all in vain?
Yes, and.. no.

As with many complex questions, this one deserves a complex answer.
We are all going to die, eventually – unless they’ll come up with some eternal life elixir – and we’re all dearly hoping for that to happen.
But until then, death is a fact, not an assumption.
An assumption is what happens “after” – which is a problematic question in itself.
And since we are all going to die, what we’ve done in this world seems to amount to nothing “in the end” – because we can’t take our luxury car with us to heaven, hell, the void of nothingness, etc. Even if we could, it will probably be of no use to our souls, which probably wouldn’t reach the gas pedal.

Now, that sounds a little grim, doesn’t it?
Well, sort of.
You see, if we’re all going to die anyway, then why not make the best out of our lives? live every moment to the fullest, experience, never be complacent.. starts sounding good right?

But then, if every goal we reach soon becomes redundant and irrelevant, why would we put goals in the first place?

To sum it up in 2 words – Gratitude and Journey.
You see, the key to true happiness is being grateful for what you have.
At any given moment you can choose to be happy (although it’s harder to be happy if you’re hungry, thirsty, horny, *name other basic human needs*, it’s possible).
It simply takes the practice of being grateful, and it’s backed by good ol’ science.

Now, combine being grateful with appreciating the journey, and you’ve got yourself the “secret recipe” for happiness. The journey is obviously where you’re gonna spend most of your time, and if reaching the goals is only fun for a short while, enjoying the journey seems like a safe bet.

So, ladies, gentlemen and otherly defined, What i’m implying is:
Enjoy the journey, be grateful, and you will find true happiness.

The thrill of the fight

Well, ladies and gentlemen,
I’ve been waiting for this moment for some time now.
That feeling that lives inside of me, that enables me to write. Maybe it will be quite horrible writing, I’d give you that.

But I feel like it, and if you’d be inspired, I’ll be a happy bastard.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling down for a while, for a myriad reasons, and quite honestly, I felt quite sick of it. It sucks living day to day with that feeling of a lack, of some emptiness inside of you, that screams to be filled by something.

That emptiness is often filled by doing things that we really want to do, things that we’re afraid of. Things that we seem to avoid.

Those things are those “battles” we face, sometimes daily, sometimes sporadically, but we face them nonetheless. And our attitude towards them, often makes the difference between happiness and depression, winning and losing. Feeling empty, and feeling whole.

I’ve been shying away from those battles lately.
Quite honestly, afraid to face them. I felt as if I could simply avoid all those rough things in life, all those decisions, all those shortcomings that I have, and that they will magically disappear. Obviously, I was mistaken.

Things don’t just disappear, if at all, they become more of an issue.
And quite often they blow up in your face at a certain point.

Never avoid those battles, those fear you need to overcome.
Acknowledge your shortcomings, acknowledge your fears, and go take them on, with all your strength, with all your scarce will power, you take them on!

The thing that will make the difference is your attitude.
No more petty thinking, no more being sorry for yourself, no more self loathing.
It’s time to enjoy the thrill of the fight. Let it energize you, let it fill you with new motivation to take on new challenges and beat the hell out of them.

You can do it, and so can I.
Let’s get to work.

Question Everything – Part 2

So, after we’ve discussed a few things worth questioning, we approach our next subject – Choices in life.

We all need to make choices – in fact, we don’t even seem to notice all the choices we make throughout our life.

Some choices have a bigger impact on our lives – Our profession in life, whether to get a degree, and if so – which one?

For now – Let’s focus on big life decisions – as opposed to seemingly big life decisions.

Continue reading “Question Everything – Part 2”

Question Everything – Part 1

Ever thought about the things you take for granted?

I don’t mean the touchy-feely variety like “you should be grateful for all the happiness that you have in life”, I mean more like your world view.

Things like religion, the meaning of life, government, consumerism etc.
“Fight Club” kinda things.

If you didn’t get my point yet, read on. It might make a BIG difference in your world view. Hopefully, it would make you think different, and actually take action on your new found beliefs.

Continue reading “Question Everything – Part 1”